Christina To­rio

Alpine Observer - - News -

What is your job?

I am teacher, chap­lain and well­be­ing of­fi­cer at Ded­erang Pri­mary School. I have been teach­ing lit­er­acy, nu­mer­acy, the per­form­ing arts and SEL which is so­cial and emotional learn­ing. The school is also in­volved in Alpine Health’s re­silience pro­gram, which aims to give the kids skills for their emotional and so­cial well­be­ing. Cur­rently the school has 19 stu­dents.

Is it some­thing you al­ways wanted to do?

Yes, I have al­ways wanted to be a teacher. My grand­fa­ther was the head­mas­ter of a small ru­ral school in the Philip­pines. I was born in the Philip­pines but when I was six months old my dad, who was a sur­geon, moved us to the US, so I grew up on Long Is­land in New York. We went back to the Philip­pines when I was 12 be­cause my par­ents were wor­ried that we might lose out Philip­pino cul­ture. Our an­ces­tral home was there, and our grand­par­ents were get­ting old and they wanted us to know them. That was im­por­tant in a con­ser­va­tive Catholic so­ci­ety. I didn’t mind, I knew I could al­ways move out later if I wanted to, and we al­ways went back to the US in the school hol­i­days. My mum passed away when I was 16. I stud­ied teach­ing and Eu- ro­pean lan­guages at univer­sity and de­cided to ven­ture out and come to Aus­tralia to do my masters at the Univer­sity of New Eng­land. I was fas­ci­nated with abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture and my first job place­ment was at Bro­ken Hill teach­ing abo­rig­i­nal kids. I love small schools. I worked at Guyra, and at Carinda, then at the other end of the spec­trum, at PLC in Ar­mi­dale. I did con­tract work in Queens­land, then at an­other abo- rig­i­nal school at Lake Cargel­ligo.

How did you come to be in the Kiewa Val­ley?

I came to visit Vic­to­ria and fell in love with the Kiewa Val­ley with the moun­tains, the river and the coun­try­side. I got a job at the Mt Beauty Pri­mary School, and fi­nally set­tled in Ded­erang.

What do you love about the job?

I think it’s mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the lives of the kids I work with. I like teach­ing them open­ness and re­silience skills. I love the way they look at things, their in­no­cence just blows me away. I learn so much from the kids – to be a risk-taker, to be cre­ative and to have child­like won­der. It leads me to have hope that the world will be a bet­ter place.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love to travel, I love meet­ing peo­ple and I re­ally en­joy climb­ing the lo­cal moun­tains, like Mt Bo­gong. I love dancing, and I teach Zumba to the kids. We re­ally like per­form­ing.

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